Gus Malzahn. The first-year Auburn coach has the Tigers back on the national scene after it went 3-9 last year. The entire state of Alabama will be fired up for next week’s Iron Bowl, and Auburn will have plenty of supporters hoping for an upset of the Crimson Tide.
Todd Grantham. All the defense had to do was not play volleyball on a desperation pass, but Georgia failed to do so. The Bulldogs have looked lost at times on the field this season, and fundamentals seem to be in short supply.
Georgia is ranked 53rd in the nation in total defense – worse than the likes of Bowling Green (No. 12), Florida Atlantic (No. 21), North Texas (No. 27), Western Kentucky (No. 29) and Buffalo (No. 49).
PREVENT PREVENTS NOTHING
Your opponent is facing fourth-and-18 from its own 27 with 36 seconds remaining. You call a timeout. Do you: a) Call for a prevent defense and allow the quarterback plenty of time to throw a deep ball, or b) Call a play to put pressure on the quarterback so he won’t have an opportunity to defeat your team? If you picked ‘a,’ congratulations! You’re qualified to be Georgia’s defensive coordinator.
MOVIN’ ON UP
All of the sudden, Baylor is nipping at Ohio State’s heels in the Bowl Championship Standings rankings. While the Buckeyes (10-0) have a pair of top-25 wins this season, the Bears (9-0) play at No. 10 Oklahoma State on Saturday night.
If Baylor collects a second win over a top-10 foe this season, expect the Bears to slide into third.
RANKING THE BIG FOUR
1. Clemson (9-1, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Now that he owns the ACC career mark for passing touchdowns, Tajh Boyd needs three more touchdowns to reach 100.
2. South Carolina (8-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference). Jadeveon Clowney has three (maybe four) more games left to prove he’s a top-three pick for the 2014 NFL Draft.
3. Georgia (6-4, 4-3 SEC). Credit Aaron Murray for having a superior senior season. Too bad he didn’t have a defense to get him to the SEC and national championship games.
4. Georgia Tech (6-4, 5-3 ACC). The Yellow Jackets still have a shot at their most wins (nine) since 2009.
• The Citadel at Clemson, noon (ESPN3)
• Coastal Carolina at South Carolina, 1 p.m. (pay-per-view)
• S.C. State at Norfolk State, 1 p.m. (No TV)
• Alabama A&M at Georgia Tech, 1:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
• Georgia Southern at Florida, 2 p.m. (No TV)
• Kentucky at Georgia, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
THIS WEEK’S STORYLINES
Clemson: The Tigers should easily defeat another Bulldogs squad this season.
Georgia: Other than Senior Night, the Bulldogs play the Wildcats in a meaningless contest.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets should dominate its four-win opponent early and often.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks must avoid looking ahead (to Clemson) against a Chanticleers squad that can put up pinball-like numbers.